Happy Monday everyone! I hope your weekend was great! I’m here today with an author interview 🙂 I interviewed YA author Annie Sullivan, talking about her new upcoming novel Tiger Queen. This book releases on September 10th from Blink, so release day is almost upon us. If you’re interested in pre-ordering this book, Annie has an awesome pre-order incentive. If you pre-order the book, you’ll get: an enamel pin, signed book plate, digital poster and a guide to the creatures in the book. You can send your proof of purchase to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your name and mailing address and you’ll get those awesome pre-order goodies!
Goodreads Synopsis: In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-old Princess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought. The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.
But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.
1. The short story “The Lady, or the Tiger” is a classic short story that many people don’t know about. What about this story struck you the most? Did you already want to write a story based off this story when you read it?
The thing that struck me the most about the story way back when I read it in grade school is the story’s cliffhanger ending. It has always bothered me! So yes, I have always wanted to retell this story and give it the ending it always should have had—which may not be what readers expect! Also, as a thank you to my teacher who made us read the story, I dedicated Tiger Queen to her (and to my family!), but it shows the power a teacher can have on a student.
2. This story is a desert fantasy, which is different from “A Touch of Gold.” What was the research process like to bring this book to life?
Oddly enough, I wrote a lot of Tiger Queen while I was in Antarctica, which is one of the largest deserts on earth because of how dry it is. I took how the cold paralyzes you and turned into the heat making you immobile. And I took the flinging snow and turned it into stinging sand. Outside that, I did do a lot of research into desert creatures that I could give a fantastical twist to, how to survive in the desert, and a variety of other things. I also worked with a sensitivity reader to ensure that nothing in my desert setting would be stereotypical or harmful to actual desert cultures that exist.
3. Which character surprised you the most writing “Tiger Queen”, whether it was their personality or story arc that surprised you?
I think the character that surprised me the most is Princess Kateri. She’s a strong, stubborn character at the beginning of the book, but as she learns things throughout the novel, she softens some. There’s a very beautiful moment in the book where Kateri displays her emotions for the first time in a long time, and I love that scene—of showing how it’s okay to let things out and how that can still make you strong.
4. What are some of your favorite desert fantasy books and did they help you write “Tiger Queen?”
I really love books like Rebel of the Sands and Becoming Jinn, but I wouldn’t say any of them helped me write Tiger Queen. My story takes place in a very unique desert with creatures that are similar to real life creatures, but that are usually different in deadly ways. My desert society is also running out of water, which is why Kateri wants to bring the thieving gang of Desert Boys—who roam around stealing water—to justice.
5. What is one of the most important things you want readers to take away from the book?
With A Touch of Gold, it was all about learning to love yourself and your flaws while finding your strength within. But with Tiger Queen, Kateri is already a hardcore heroine ready and able to fight for her throne, so I really want people to take away that you don’t have to be hard all the time. You can share your burdens with other people and learn to count on them when you’re in need.
6. What are some upcoming projects we can look forward to from you?
I’m currently working on the sequel to my debut novel, A Touch of Gold. It will be called A Curse of Gold and will release in August 2020. It’s filled with even more Greek mythology, high seas adventure, and heart-pounding action as Princess Kora sets off to try and save her kingdom and cure her father from the curse of the Golden Touch. I can’t wait for readers to share in these new adventures!!!
A big thank you to Annie for reaching out to me and for this great author interview! I highly recommend picking up Tiger Queen this September, as well as A Touch of Gold that’s out now! You can also check out some of Annie’s links here: